HOUSTON — A federal judge has wrongly prevented “common-sense policies” from taking effect by blocking President Obama’s executive action that seeks to shield millions of immigrants from deportation, and the federal government plans to continue its fight in a higher court, the White House said Wednesday.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the policies are in the best interest of the economy and supported by businesses, faith leaders and local law enforcement across the country, “including in some communities that are located in pretty red states.”

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen refused late Tuesday night to lift a temporary hold he imposed on the president’s policies in February after 26 states – led by Texas – filed a lawsuit challenging the changes. The U.S. Department of Justice had asked Hanen to reverse his decision, but the Brownsville, Texas-based judge said the government had not “shown any credible reason” to immediately reverse his ruling.

That means the Obama administration is still temporarily barred from implementing policies that would allow as many as five million people to remain in the U.S. even though they live in the country illegally.

Earnest said the administration will continue its fight at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which the Justice Department had already asked to lift the injunction. The appeals court is scheduled to hear arguments April 17.

“The fact is that the president announced common-sense policies to help bring accountability, some much-needed accountability, to our broken immigration system,” Earnest said during a White House briefing Wednesday.

The states’ lawsuit argues that Obama’s action is unconstitutional and would force local governments to invest more in law enforcement, health care and education. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Wednesday that “any premature implementation could have serious consequences, inflicting irreparable harm on our state.”

The White House argues that the court is blocking the policies in states that support the changes.

Obama announced the executive orders in November, saying Congress’ lack of action on immigration rules forced him to make sweeping changes on his own.


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